Young Britons' Foundation

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Young Britons' Foundation
File:Young Britons' Foundation logo.png
Abbreviation YBF
Formation July 2003 (2003-07)
Purpose Training conservative and classical liberal activists
Chief Executive
Daniel Hannan[1]
Donal Blaney

The Young Britons' Foundation, abbreviated to YBF, is a British conservative[2][3] not-for-profit training, education and research think-tank, established in July 2003 to "help train tomorrow's centre-right leaders and activists today".

It intends to promote young conservatives and "classical liberals".[2] Chief executive Donal Blaney has described YBF as "a Conservative madrasa". [4] YBF has strong links with the American neoconservative movements,[5] and partnerships with American conservative thinktanks and foundations.[5]

YBF was launched in July 2003 at a conference of the Young America's Foundation in Washington, D.C., and it has said that it aims to "import American political techniques into the UK". YBF has declared an intention to expose left-wing bias in Britain's universities.[2][3][6] YBF was originally based in Regent Street, London, leading some Conservatives to question its funding. YBF claims its funding comes solely from UK private donations.[6]

On 21 December 2015 The Times reported that Donal Blaney had resigned as Chief Executive, following on from the allegations of impropriety towards former YBF director of outreach Mark Clarke.[7][8]


YBF's Chief Executive is Donal Blaney, a former National Chairman of Conservative Future,[5] and its Chairman is Patrick Nicholls, former Conservative MP for Teignbridge and Government Minister. The current president of YBF is Daniel Hannan, Conservative Member of the European Parliament for South East England.[9] The renowned author and avowed Eurosceptic Frederick Forsyth is a patron of YBF.[10]

As of September 2010, YBF's "advisory board" includes Matthew Elliott, founder of the UK TaxPayers' Alliance, and representatives of the Heritage Foundation (a US conservative thinktank), US Competitive Enterprise Institute and American Conservative Union (a US conservative lobbying organisation). It also includes the founder of the US Leadership Institute, the President of the US Jesse Helms Center, the President of the Young America's Foundation, the co-founder of the US Henry Jackson Society and a former Executive Director of the Collegiate Network. British representatives include Professor Patrick Minford, blogger Iain Dale (who resigned in the same year[11]) and two local councillors.[12]

Donal Blaney states that he largely finances the Young Britons' Foundation himself, at a cost of about £50,000 per year.[8]


In 2010, The Guardian reported that there was "an informal understanding that YBF is the main provider of training for young Conservative activists."[5] in 2010, Conservative Party Chairman Eric Pickles, Shadow Home Minister Andrew Rosindell and Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox spoke at the annual YBF Parliamentary Rally at the House of Commons.[4] In 2010, it was reported that YBF claims to have trained 2,500 Conservative party activists.[4] At least 11 Conservative parliamentary candidates in the 2010 general election have been delegates or speakers at YBF courses.[5]

Training costs are subsidised and cost about £45 for students, including accommodation and meals. Training and conferences are carried out under Chatham House Rule.[8]


Hung Parliament warning leaflet delivered in the week of the UK General Election

In the last days of the United Kingdom general election, 2010 over 500,000 leaflets were delivered by YBF to over 20 LibDem/Conservative marginals across the country warning of the dangers of a hung parliament. Chris Huhne falsely accused YBF of breaking electoral laws by not being registered with the Electoral Commission,[13] despite the fact that YBF were Electoral Commission-registered.[14]

During the 2008 presidential election, YBF sent a delegation of activists to campaign in the United States for John McCain.[15] In 2010, YBF's executive director addressed the US Conservative Political Action Conference "warning of the dangers of socialism".[16]

In the 2013 elections to the Common Council of the City of London the YBF ran around 20 candidates challenging the City Establishment.[17]

The 2015 YBF conference was cancelled after allegations of impropriety towards former YBF director of outreach Mark Clarke.[8][18] Six Cabinet ministers due to speak at the conference had previously withdrawn, citing diary clashes.[19]


  1. "YBF Staff". Young Britons' Foundation. Retrieved 3 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Right-wing students 'suffer 'bias'". BBC News. 13 November 2003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Curtis, Polly (11 November 2003). "Rightwing group targets 'campus bias'". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 3 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Booth, Robert (6 March 2010). "'Tory madrasa' preaches radical message to would-be MPs". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Booth, Robert (6 March 2010). "Radicalised Tories ready to take on Labour's big guns". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Happold, Tom (8 October 2003). "Tory youth group accused of take-over plot". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Billy Kenber (21 December 2015). ".Madrassa. for Tory activists may close after leader quits". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Hannah Barnes (12 December 2015). "What is the Young Britons' Foundation?". BBC. Retrieved 14 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "People: Daniel Hannan". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 3 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. The Guardian, 5 May 2010, David Cameron accused of being dishonest over links with 'Conservative madrasa'
  14. "UK general election 2010: Campaign spending report" (PDF). Electoral Commission. February 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Mostrous, Alexi (4 November 2008). "Young Brits flock to US election campaign". The Times. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Tory Bullying: Donal Blaney Slams Party Response". LBC. Retrieved 2015-12-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Christopher Hope (7 December 2015). "Right-wing activists' conference called off in wake of 'Tatler Tory' bullying scandal". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links